Some Poll Numbers (Taken Before Yesterday's Election)


From an AP-GfK poll of 1,008 adult Americans, taken over January 12-17:

_42 percent rated Obama as an above average or outstanding president. A year ago, 65 percent expected him to be.

_The economy continues to be the dominant concern, and Obama's 47 percent approval rating on handling the economy has hardly budged for months.

_48 percent trust Democrats more to handle health care; 38 percent trust Republicans. But respondents were split 42-42 percent on the package being considered by Congress. That was a slight increase in support for the plans.

_59 percent expect their taxes to increase under Obama, up from 35 percent a year ago.

_49 percent trust Democrats more on the economy; 40 percent trust Republicans.

The writeup of the poll, via the Cincy Enquirer, notes that on the anniversary of Barack Obama's inauguration,

The excitement of Obama's inauguration and the inflated expectations of that time are gone. His approval ratings have been in the 50s since July, sliding from 74 percent a year ago.

Hopes that he would become an extraordinary president have been tempered during a year of economic calamity, an escalating war in Afghanistan and sharp elbows in the health care debate, the poll suggests.

Gotta love the passive voice here: So many random events have tempered all those hopes! As if Obama had nothing to do with the economy, the war in Afghanistan, and health care reform. Bad luck for him to take office just as that stimulus package came along, all those troops went to Afghanistan, and Congress geared up on health care. Ah well.

Whole thing here.

NEXT: Three Dead in Guantánamo

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  1. One year under the rule of B. Hussein Obama.

  2. ? Happy Anniversary…Mister Preeesideeent ?

  3. The poor, hapless man didn’t want the job anyway, but We the People drafted him into the presidency.

    1. My sentiments exactly. Poor ole Obama was just coolin’ out in the Senate, minding his own biness (liberal vote after vote), when the electorate dragged him kicking and screaming into the Presidential race. He never asked for his “inheritance.” Ah, hope and change rhetoric. 7 more years of hope?

      1. Hopefully only 3 more

  4. Fading, too, though, are worries that Obama is in over his head.

    ‘Cause he’s standing on the shoulders of giants?

  5. The best thing that can come of this is starting over and maybe looking at some health-care reforms that might actually work. Severing the tie between employment and insurance would be a great first step.

    The pessimist in me is sure that whatever bi-partisan reform bill is passed is going to be just as noxious as the one that was shot down.

    1. Every silver lining has a cloud?

      1. This one is a mushroom cloud.

  6. “Gotta love the passive voice here: So many random events have tempered all those hopes! As if Obama had nothing to do with the economy, the war in Afghanistan, and health care reform.

    When there’s been so little opposition from the Republicans on things like bailouts, stimulus and Afghanistan, it’s hard to point the finger at Obama.

    I mean, if just about anyone in the opposition party would have done pretty much the same thing in those circumstances, why not blame the circumstances?

    And except for what Obama hasn’t done yet on healthcare, I’m not sure what the Republicans would have done differently.

  7. Bad economic times has a way of focusing the mind. In the 90s and the 00s the economy was so good people had time to fight over cultural issues like gay marriage and abortion and gambling on the internet. Now people don’t have time to worry about anything beyond the economy and the 10% unemployment rate. That is where Obama blew it more than anything. He could have spent his political capital on trying to cover the uninsured if he had been elected in 2000 with a good economy and a surplus. But in 2009 people’s minds were focused on the economy and the dreadful state of the deficit.

    For this reason I think that small government types can make some headway in the next few years. They are the only ones who can offer any real solutions to the economy. And I also think social issues and the power of evangelicals is going to wane. People have priorities and they are going to care a lot less about cultural issues. Scott Brown is now the hero de jour of the Republican Party. Yet, it is my understanding that he is pretty much a social liberal. Republicans couldn’t afford to take evangelicals and cultural issues for granted in the 90s and 00s. The economy was good, so they couldn’t use that as much or a political issue. And they didn’t think they had any hope of winning in places like Massachusetts and California anyway. Well that is changed. Brown proves that they can be competitive in places like Massachusetts if they just jettison the social conservatism. Now they have a reason to ignore the social conservatives and an issue on the economy to run on.

  8. You know, how is 40+% supporting or even applauding Obama? By any objective criteria–even sitting in the position of a leftist–he’s a piss-poor president. Has partisanship reached such delusional levels that people won’t turn on gross incompetence?

    1. For about 40% of the population it has always been so. I bet even Nixon and Johnson still had 35 or 40 percent support at the end of their Presidencies. Some people hate the other side more than they like their own.

      1. Jeez, John, why did you make me remember? In 1965, after Johnson crushed Goldwater, we YAFers manned a petition booth to “Back the President’s Strong Stand on Vietnam.”
        It wasn’t the end of Johnson’s term, but here’s a bunch of rock-ribbed conservatives finding something “good” to support in LBJ’s agenda. Think how much easier it is for one’s committed supporters to overlook shortcomings.

  9. True John.

    Dismal economic times do have a tendency to cause one to re-evaluate one’s sense of priorities.

    Cultural issues and social arguments are luxuries that are addressed when a robust economy permits; perhaps it may be wise to jettison them altogether, especially issues such as gay marriage (government shouldn’t be in the marriage business period).

    Based on those poll numbers, I fear that health care and the economy will be conflated and also looked by the electorate more and more as a cultural phenomenon than strictly from an economic perspective, i.e. my health care is a right and employment is a right.

    Especially with the class envy being hurled at the financial sector bonuses
    and people asking “Well, if the Corpratists can have theirs, why can’t I?”

    Class envy is an excellent weapon used by Progressives for decades, and poor economic times breeds cries of, “Soak the rich, they can afford it!”
    Which I fear will make limited, fiscally restrained government much harder to realize: both parties appear to want the same conclusion but wish different times and methods of statist implementation.

    Progressives are generally better at argumentum ad populum approaches but The One tried to do too much too soon and picked his battles unwisely so far and we’ll see if the repubs can actually be conservative for a minute.

    1. That is what Obama is going to try. His “pivot” is going to be soak the rich and kill the bankers. The problem is that it won’t work. The economy will just get worse or at best stagnate. The one good thing about the economy is that people can see and feel the results of policies. The Democrats played class warfare under Carter. They campaigned against Reagan in 1980 saying that he was a vicious capitalist who was going to kill social security and give it all to the rich. And the Dems got killed. We are still basically a capitalist country. People understand that lower taxes generally give a better economy. And they also understand that we can’t continue to run trillion dollar deficits. There is only one way out of this, lower taxes, lower spending, and stop devaluing the currency.

      The sad fact is that I think people really were ready to make sacrifices for Obama. If he had just asked, they would have taken some austerity. The stimulus was very unpopular. But Obama never asked. He was too busy letting Pelosi and Reid steal.

      1. You know what the problem with class warfare is? Not understanding who the real classes are who are fighting. It ain’t the rich versus the poor, it’s the government (and friends) versus the rest of us.

      2. Goes against his grain John. You are correct when you (and others)predicted he will show his true colors upon taking office.

        What he essentially did was to run as a centrist, much like Clinton ran as a right of center, then immediately exposed his leftist ideology fo all to see. I don’t think the public was prepared for the cost of these grand ideas (Bush’s expansion of medicare and his domestic increase of spending under the guise of “compassionate conservatism” did little to help austerity).

        Enough folks are on the teat that the sacrifices you suggest people were ready to make will not materialize unless congress is prepared to make some very difficult choices and risk being one-termers to implement proper fiscal policy.

        1. I am more optimistic than you. People are willing to take cuts in spending. It is the government that doesn’t want to cut spending, not the voters.

          I don’t Obama is going to go to the center. He is not Clinton. People underestimate just how shameless Clinton was. They guy spent two years in office trying to socialize health care and pass a national energy tax. Then after losing Congress got up two months later and claimed in his state of the union address that “the era of big government is over”. That is an amazing lack of shame. Obama is not like that. He is like Bush. He actually believes in things. He is going to go full speed left no matter what.

          1. Yeah, I remember the shenanigans of the Clinton presidency and his noted lack of shame, decorum and couth. Still, he was charismatic and effective when properly gridlocked. I don’t see the One having the political chops Ole Bill skillfully employed. The health care debacle was all Hillary’s and it (thankfully) blew up.

            As far as voters wanting spending cut, that may be true on a national scale, with the exception of Medicare/Caid. I’ve got enough patients who are not willing to take cuts in either. Hell, the SCHIP was expanded for “children” at the age of 23, no thanks to The One. It’s the reduction in local and state spending that voters tend to get rather pissy over, and thanks to this stimulus stuff (which the majority has not been spent), most states and by proxy, their constituents, are not none too pleased in seeing dry up.

            The piper wants his due.

  10. If only he had more power to properly address these issues the one would become our magic unicorn; flying on a rainbow of skittles emanating from his bottom.

  11. Dude I think someone got it right on the money!


  12. Those that don’t know history are doomed to repeat it and it is Obvious that Obama and his group doesn’t know history as he is driving off the same cliff as Clinton and Carter did in their first years in office. I don’t think he will change as he is to narcissistic. Clinton has the smarts to go to the center. Oh Barry Obama when will you learn? Every time he thinks he weekens the Nation.

  13. John,

    Small government types making headway in this environment?

    Where are small government types to be found?

    Are we talking about one or two people in the Republican Party? There are no small government types of any size in any part of the government or within either of the only parties that matter.

    Small government types make a comeback? We’re like some virus that used to be prolific but now only exists in a lab somewhere. …scientists argue about whether they should snuff us out completely or keep us around just for the sake of nostalgia.

    Small government types make a comeback?! Face it, we’re Cousin Brucie! In the ’80s, nostalgia made a comeback, but there were still people around back then who remembered how it used to be. We’re the Fonz and nobody cares about Fonzie anymore, okay? We’re Cousin Brucie and we’re the Fonz. …and we’re not making a comeback.

    1. We didn’t get into this mess in one election or though one decision. It was a long series of both. And we are not going to get out of it in one election or one or two policies changes. We need to start sawing the wood in front of us. And stop crying for God’s sake.

      1. Agreed John.

        It will take some pretty drastic change in our mindset as a country to get back to those basics that should be championed: limited goverment, fiscally sound economic policy, and good old-fashioned courage to stand up for one’s beliefs. Young liberal idealists will come around when they realize fully the ramifications of lofty goals in unicorn fields v. real world practicality hits ’em in the pocketbook.

        I do believe it can be done; however, it ain’t gonna be painless.

        1. No it won’t. And it won’t be short either.

  14. we have a president? I was sure I was under some authoritarian rule where my vote meant nothing…

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